Electric School Buses, Technology Highlight NAPT Trade Show

Electric School Buses, Technology Highlight NAPT Trade Show

Another national trade show has come and gone, with school bus manufacturers and suppliers headed to their respective corners of the country, but not before showing their wares to hundreds of student transporters in Columbus, Ohio.

Below are just some of the many products and solutions on display from more than 100 exhibitors at Tuesday’s National Association for Pupil Transportation Summit Trade Show.


247Security Inc. released its new HD school bus camera system, the Zeus HD. With a flexible range of offerings from entry level to professional-grade applications, the Zeus HD can add up to eight total 720p (1280x720) HD cameras with wireless automation. Zeus cameras generate high quality recordings, with the dual-stage hybrid drive able to provide high storage capacity. All cameras have bulletproof durability and contain E-Guard power loss recording protection, which enables the Zeus HD to continue recording for two minutes in the event of a power disruption. The Zeus HD also comes equipped with vehicle battery protection that functions to cut off and isolate power of the camera system from the vehicle six hours after the ignition is off.

AMF-Bruns of America

AMF-Bruns of America exhibited wheelchair restraints designed to protect special needs school bus passengers in the event that a bus suddenly stops and/or is in a collision. The company said that by touching and feeling the actual restraints used on buses, show attendees learn how their restraints meet all applicable industry safety and quality standards. AMF-Bruns restraints posses unique features such as self-tensioning or fully-automatic pull-outs, low profiles and foot release levers, and availability in different anchorages. AMF-Bruns of America has provided vehicle technology for wheelchair passengers for nearly 60 years.

Besi Manufacturing

BESI exhibited its tamper resistant “Seat Mount for a Safe Journey” that provides for no access to the shoulder latches for the student; however, the company said it is easy for the driver/aide to use. More adjustability at the shoulder level and D-rings offer a deterrent device, making it harder to unlatch. BESI added that the Safe Journey seat mount and hook up can be added to an existing BESI Vest or universal vest. Installation is very similar to the original seat mount.

Blue Bird

Blue Bird showcased the Microbird G5 Propane and T-Series. The G5 functions on Ford’s E-450 chassis with a 6.8L engine powered by ROUSH propane sytem with up to 320 miles for 30 passengers. The G5’s factor engineered on propane allows customers a clean and affordable alternative that comes equipped with a fortified infrastructure system. Aside from the G5 Propane, the T-series combines trusted safety with new advances in visibility, serviceability, ergonomics, comfort and a modern stylish design. Its improved fuel economy optimizes mile efficiency. Blue Bird also displayed its new all-electric All-American Type D.

Collins Bus

Collins Bus showed its redesigned low-floor minibus to allow equal access for all students, either walking into the bus, entering via a wheelchair or with other equipment. As such, the low-floor bus is integrated with ADA compliant wheelchair ramps and is built on a Ram Promaster 3500 chassis. It can transport students in several configurations, including eight regularly seated students and three secured in wheelchairs, 10 seated and two in wheelchairs and 14 seated and one in a wheelchair.

Cummins, Inc

Cummins said its full lineup of diesel and natural gas engines operate quietly and smoothly so drivers can devote more attention to traffic and students. The low-NOx Blue sets the standard for clean operation. Innovative Stop Start technology enables superior fuel economy in the B6.7 at 0.1 g/bhp-hr., which is 50 percent lower than the current EPA and CARB NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr. CO2 emissions meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas (GHG) emission requirements. A low-emission natural gas engine like the B6.7 gives customers the indispensable value of saving versus spending more through functions of fossil fuels.

IC Bus

A concept all-electric school bus on display at the NAPT Trade Show marked the entrance of IC Bus and parent company Navistar into the ZEV market. Navistar developed the electric platform with partner Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group. Navistar said the electric school bus was designed to give districts “an environmentally friendly school bus option that aims to lower the total cost of ownership and offer user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance.”

Lion Electric Co.

Lion Electric displayed its eLion, the first 100-percent, all-electric large school bus in North America. The company also announced earlier this year it is developing all-electric class 5 to 8 trucks as well as a minibus set to launch in 2018. Power Energy partners with Lion Electric in constructing its all-electric transportative line geared to improve the environment and overall quality of life.


Q’STRAINT and Sure-Lok have innovated many industry standards, from a complete series of floor anchorage tracks to the first automatic retractors. The company’s latest efforts are the QRT-360 and Titan800 four-point. Both retractors are heavy duty, fully automatic retractable tie-downs built to withstand the higher loads of the WC18 standard. Both retractors secure automatically, accommodate larger wheelchairs, include j-hooks to ease securement, eliminate mounting by way of a low profile and are interchangeable.

Rosco Vision Systems

Rosco launched a new series of surround camera systems to comply with Abigail’s Law in New Jersey and FMVSS 111. The Safe-T-Scope 180, 270, and 360 systems were designed and engineered to maximize coverage around the school bus to ensure the safest driving environment. Utilizing two, three and four cameras around the vehicle, the Safe-T-Scope surround camera systems offer front, rear, and side aerial coverage of the school bus to minimize blind spots for the driver. The company said the new Safe-T-Scope systems, paired with Rosco’s MOR-Vision mirror and monitors, are the tools needed to stay compliant with today’s safety standards.

SafeGuard by IMMI

IMMI exhibited its new FlexPlus school bus seat that was redesigned to both enhance compartmentalization as well as reduce cost. IMMI removed the previous “frame within a frame” technology and replaced it with a new “intelligent” system that can sense different loads on the seat, such as the additional weight of lap-shoulder belts or student passengers. Essentially, the FlexPlus seat can automatically adjust its structural strength. The FlexPlus can also detect any permanent deformation of the seat during a crash or any impact on the seat that puts it out of compliance with the FMVSS 222 forward deflection test and provides a visible indicator to make it easier for student transporters to know if they must replace the seat.

Safety Vision

The Safety Vision 360 is a new approach to recording large areas of the school bus with fewer cameras. Using a fisheye lens with a 2K resolution image sensor, the Safety Vision 360 captures a wide, panoramic view and more action in a single camera channel. Using the intuitive SafetyView PRO viewing software, Safety Vision said users can pan-and-scan across the wide image with ease. Additionally, the company said its high, center-mount position allows it to see over high seat backs and into the far corners of the bus, while its IP66-rated dome enclosure ensures it can endure the shocks and vibrations of the school bus environment.

Thomas Built Buses

In addition to exhibiting its new all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2, named “Jouley,” Thomas Built Buses showed the new DD5 diesel engine from Detroit that is expected to be available late next year. Thomas said it features top-load oil and fuel filters and the longest service intervals in its class, with up to 45,000-mile oil and fuel filter change intervals. It meets 2017 greenhouse gas emissions standards, utilizing such innovative technology as variable exhaust cam phasing, which allows additional heat into the exhaust. This new technology enables efficient operation of the aftertreatment system in low speed stop-and-go operations, which is ideal for school buses, and dramatically decreases the aftertreatment headaches currently experienced by many fleets. Detroit also demonstrated Detroit Connect Virtual Technician, a remote diagnostics service that the company said is the most in depth and the only telematics solution of its kind currently in the industry. 

TransPar Group of Companies

TransPar uses research to localize issues within student transportation and strengthen what’s necessary. Company representatives discussed improvements on safety and training as well as new methods on driver retention and moderating student behavior, all while addressing concerns in improving service and cost saving in student transportation. Transpar said it intends to use data available today within the industry to optimize transportation’s systemic efficiencies and navigate through issues that school districts encounter with their fleets.


Seon and parent company Safe Fleet showed the inView 360 collision avoidance systems as well as a new pedestrian detection and predictive stop-arm solution being devloped that could proactively keep motorists from striking students while loading and unloading the school bus. A company representative said the. The companies also demsontrated a driver performance management system that provides fleet managers with a dashboard to review video-based coaching events and analytics on driver performance.

SynTec Seating Solutions

SynTec Seating Solutions showcased its S3C family of convertible seats, which includes soft surface seat belt anchorage points. The company said the new lap/shoulder design presents no hard surfaces in the occupant head area regardless of passenger size. It is applicable to all seat sizes and can be combined with their integrated child seats. The removal of the plastic bezel, along with SynTec’s exclusive zip on/off seat back cover allows for a quick and easy replacement of the front and back seat cover. 

Viewfinder by Transfinder

Transfinder offers a way to visualize and display data on an easy to read dashboard, so student transporters have views of the information they want to see at their fingertips, and at a moment’s notice, or simply track and monitor specific elements of your operation. Viewfinder provides details needed to make administrative decisions and to manage transportation, while keeping all staff in the district informed. View on a map if vehicles are early, on-time or late based on planned versus actual time and location differences. And quickly display student details, locations and more using informative grids and maps.


Cold starts mean engine wear, increased maintenance costs, and unnecessary idling. As a resolution to combat engine wear from cold weather, Webasto North America introduced its latest bus heating system: The scholastic heater. Webasto said its CARB-approved and EPA SmartWay verified heaters that are engineered specifically for school buses reduce iding, save fuel, and provide supplemental interior heat.


Zonar announced its Zonar Verify, a mobile app for daily routing and student rider information sent directly to the school bus driver. Zonar said Verify limits incidents of students boarding the wrong bus, tracks the number of riders, gauges specific rider activity for accurate utilization and reimbursement, and prompts a “child check” by the driver at the end of every route. It also gives dispatchers a way to change buses on a route in real time, and provides information regarding planned versus actual routes and rider activity to improve routing accuracy. 


Last modified onWednesday, 22 November 2017 10:52